Is The Vaunted American Military Apolitical Culture Dead?
Opinion by Col. Rob Maness
Communist China is surrounding Taiwan as I write this and the United States Defense Department (DoD), the largest and most powerful military in the world, is paralyzed by its current politicized military leadership and policies. DoD is responsible for the defense of the United States and its vital interests, conducting military operations around the globe when called upon but readiness is at dismal levels due to politicization. It is intended to be an apolitical organization, without its own set of priorities and agendas beyond the civilian commander-in-chief’s national security strategy.
This politicization can clearly be seen in the current administration’s radical policies that have resulted on a complete failure in Afghanistan, failed recruiting efforts, a loss of faith among the ranks due to leadership failures in implementing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and a prioritizing focus on political ideologies like climate change, all resulting in a dramatic decrease in overall military readiness.
The DoD has also been criticized for its involvement in domestic affairs, such as the use of the national guard being used in the nation’s capital. The DoD has taken a position that chases a minuscule “extremism” element and has forced its personnel to focus on this politically created mythical extremism in its ranks that focuses on white Christian males, its largest recruit pool. Additionally, Marxist critical theory ideology in race and gender identity have infested the DoD civil service, officer and NCO corps’, and even the department’s K-12 school system and service academies.
The politicization of the DoD is not just a serious problem, it is an existential threat to the United States itself. It undermines the effectiveness of the military, and it makes it more difficult for the DoD to focus on its primary mission of fighting and winning wars. The DoD must be returned to an apolitical organization, focused solely on the defense of the United States vital interests.
There are several reasons why the DoD should be apolitical. First, the military is a tool of violence. It should only be used when necessary, and it should be used in a way that is consistent with the values of the United States. When the military is politicized, it becomes more likely that it will be used for partisan purposes, rather than for the good of the country.
Second, the military is a complex organization. It requires a great deal of expertise to manage and operate effectively. When the military is politicized, it becomes more difficult to attract and retain the best people. It also becomes more difficult to make sound decisions, as political considerations often take precedence over military ones.
Third, the military is a symbol of American power and prestige. When the military is politicized, it undermines the United States’ reputation around the world as the beacon of liberty. It also makes it more difficult for the United States to build alliances with other countries.
The DoD should be transformed back into an apolitical organization as quickly as possible. This will require a number of changes. First, the DoD would need to be overtly re-insulated from partisan political pressures by presidential directive. The next Secretary of Defense must take immediate action in three areas: warfighting strategy, acquisition policies, training policy, and personnel policy. The recent report on military politicization impacting low recruiting numbers by the National Independent Panel on Military Service and Readiness is devastating news as we face a China that is openly implementing plans to use military force against Taiwan:
“Poor recruiting success and a drop in Americans’ confidence in the U.S. military continue to threaten our military’s abilities. Polling data commissioned by the panel further indicated that 7 in 10 active-duty military members surveyed witnessed politicization in the military. Most respondents were both concerned about growing politicization and likely to let it impact their decision to encourage their children to join.
The report’s recommendations include:
"Eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from the Department of Defense."
"Redirect politicized efforts to combat extremism towards improving readiness."
"Establish DOD and service standards based on readiness."
"Prioritize security and defense over combatting climate change.”
The politicization of the DoD is an existential threat. It undermines the effectiveness of the military, and it makes it more difficult for the DoD to focus on its primary mission of fighting and winning wars. The DoD should be an apolitical organization, focused solely on the defense of the United States. The changes outlined above must be implemented immediately by the next Secretary of Defense since the current regime will not do so.
Col Rob has given us his permission to reprint his original article. Thank you for your service to our country and your continued passion to serve.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Rob Maness is a retired Air Force Colonel, a former wing and squadron commander, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a survivor of the 9/11 Pentagon Attack, Executive Director of Military-Veterans Advocacy, and Host of the Rob Maness Show on LifeZetteTV.
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